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Open AccessReview

The History of Bancroftian Lymphatic Filariasis in Australasia and Oceania: Is There a Threat of Re-Occurrence in Mainland Australia?

Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia
School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3(2), 58;
Received: 26 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
PDF [923 KB, uploaded 4 June 2018]


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) infects an estimated 120 million people worldwide, with a further 856 million considered at risk of infection and requiring preventative chemotherapy. The majority of LF infections are caused by Wuchereria bancrofti, named in honour of the Australian physician Joseph Bancroft, with the remainder due to Brugia malayi and B. timori. Infection with LF through the bite of an infected mosquito, can lead to the development of the condition known as elephantiasis, where swelling due to oedema leads to loss of function in the affected area and thickening of the skin, ‘like an elephant’. LF has previously been endemic in Australia, although currently, no autochthonous cases occur there. Human immigration to Australia from LF-endemic countries, including those close to Australia, and the presence of susceptible mosquitoes that can act as suitable vectors, heighten the possibility of the reintroduction of LF into this country. In this review, we examine the history of LF in Australia and Oceania and weigh up the potential risk of its re-occurrence on mainland Australia. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wuchereria bancrofti; lymphatic filariasis; elephantiasis Wuchereria bancrofti; lymphatic filariasis; elephantiasis

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Gordon, C.A.; Jones, M.K.; McManus, D.P. The History of Bancroftian Lymphatic Filariasis in Australasia and Oceania: Is There a Threat of Re-Occurrence in Mainland Australia? Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3, 58.

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